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Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story Paperback – November 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

How is it possible that Jesus' words have been utilized to justify both pacifist and prowar agendas? Historian Griffith (The Gardens of Their Dreams) is not an iconoclast, but he is not afraid to examine the various ways that Christianity has interpreted Jesus for two millennia. The author wastes no time grappling with some of the most contentious religious issues, such as the role of women in the Church, nonviolence, the celibacy requirement for some clergy and differing notions of what freedom means. Griffith calls it as he sees it throughout history: individuals and groups have twisted Jesus' message to suit their own points of view. The author is a thorough independent scholar, and his concise writing makes historical facts engaging and relevant. His most important take-home message: it is not verboten for people of faith to ask why beliefs and practices developed in a specific way. In fact, it could even be considered an obligation for healthy, committed believers to do so. --Publishers Weekly, Sept. 22, 2009

"The Christ of today is not the Jesus of history. The man - along with his message - became radically altered along the way. In this readable and insightful book that spans the centuries, Brian Griffith carefully documents how Jesus' teachings became changed to suit the predilections and fads of later audiences. This book is an excellent read for anyone concerned with moving beyond popular preaching to what the Jesus of Nazareth really taught." --Barrie Wilson, Professor, Religious Studies, York University, Toronto, Author, How Jesus Became Christian.

About the Author

Brian Griffith grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is an independent historian who examines how cultural history influences our lives, and how collective experience offers insights for our future. He is the author of The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History, Different Visions of Love: Partnership and Dominator Values in Christian History, Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story, and A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Exterminating Angel Press (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935259024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935259022
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,076,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Griffith is an independent historian who's interested in culture wars and cultural creativity. So far he's written four books. The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History examines how environmental degradation has affected society across the center of the Old World from ancient times forward. Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story and Different Visions of Love: Partnership and Dominator Cultures in Christian History reflect on the culture wars that have raged within Christianity from the religion's beginning down to the present. A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization explores the alternative traditions and religions of Chinese women, which offer the world a powerful vision for partnership, health, and spirituality. He lives in a multicultural marriage in the multicultural hub of Toronto.



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I picked up a copy of Brian Griffith's CORRECTING JESUS at my local book festival. I opened the book over a beer, thinking I'd read a few pages before eating dinner. But I couldn't put it down.

This is, by far, the most accessible and objective history of Christ (and his innumerable manifestations, uses & abuses over the centuries) I've read. While popular religious studies author Karen Armstrong is probably a natural comparison, I think Griffith stands out in his ability to seamlessly connect past with present, making a 2nd century meeting between early Christian bishops seem as relevant today as it was in the moment.

Griffith spends his introduction locating the impulse for his written inquiry in his background as a Sunday School-attending Protestant. And with each chapter that follows, Griffith uses a personal anecdote (conversation with a pastor, memory of reading a bit of Scripture, etc) that leads the reader into the topic at hand. Yet Griffith is neither embittered nor naive, and this adds to the admirable scope and dedication offered in his text. His bibliography alone (6+ pages of barely legible fine print) is enough to convince you that this is a man who has done his research. Griffith will cite St. Augustine, Al Gore, Paul's Letters to the Romans & Jerry Falwell in the same chapter, and show you just how interrelated they all are.

I was a Religious Studies major in university, so I was very curious to see how Griffith would handle a topic that has largely been dealt with in an academic context. As I've said above, it is an incredibly accessible read. I heard that Griffith wanted any curious reader, regardless of his/her background or familiarity with Christian and political history, to be able to pick up this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Denise on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brian does an excellent job of sharing not only how the story has changed, but how, and who and why. He outlines and clearly shows us not only how much the story has changed, but just how far from the teachings of Jesus Christ, that Christianity we know today has taken people.

I'd recommend this book to any person that honestly would like to see just how much the story has changed, and just how "correcting Jesus" has gotten us to the point today that most of the reported teachings of Jesus Christ, are actually rejected for traditions created by changing/correcting the story to fit the agenda of others, instead of Jesus Christ.

For a detailed explanation of the book directly from Brian... you can visit his site[...].
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Caire on February 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
... to many policies and attitudes which are associated with the Roman Catholic church today. This has been extremely helpful to me. I am a "cradle Catholic". Increasingly over the years I have noted that many central messages I've heard when I attended mass -- as well as many statements in the 4 Gospels -- do not seem consistent with Jesus' core message. Jesus' way of perceiving the world, and the change of perception I believe Jesus was trying to impart to others (regarding God, others, and self) so often seems poorly-represented by the institution of the church. "Correcting Jesus" does a fantastic job of providing a historical summary of events along the 2,000-year timeline. (In fact, it is so good I've made a note to verify some of the book's contents ... assuming the book is accurate, it is "golden"!) My only problems with the publication are minor: at times it is a lot of information to plow through; and also, as noted on the back cover, much of the historical information is disheartening or downright depressing. So be it. This is a unique book which has been of high value to me for reasons noted above, and also because it seems to corroborate some developments in my "personal theology".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Reid on January 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I cannot praise this book highly enough. There is little I can add to what other reviewers have said, but in my case, the strength of the book lies in the answers to many questions that originally arose in my mind while reading the books of Bart Ehrman. Exactly how and why did Christianity change and evolve over the centuries? How did it acquire the many manifestations it has today? Griffith explains all this with great clarity. The reader is not expected to know a great deal about the history of Christianity before reading the book, although a bit of prior knowledge is helpful. What is most obvious to me is that Griffith has not only well and truly done his homework, but he is also well-informed about all the trends in Christianity as this large and complex religion has shifted to and fro in the winds of history, and he is equally aware of current trends. This is truly a book for everyone, Christian or non-Christian, scholar or layman. If you have any interest in the sayings of Jesus or in the way Christianity has shaped Western Civilization, you should buy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dubious Disciple on April 1, 2015
Format: Paperback
Jesus blew it. He expected too much. A number of his teachings were simply unworkable, and the church found it necessary to rework them over time.

Jesus thought we should treat women as equals, but we corrected that howler in a hurry. He thought maybe God would forgive all those who forgave others, but we quickly realized God isn’t that forgiving. There are many stipulations to His mercy. Jesus suggested we turn the other cheek, but we Americans fixed that one, too. We amassed the biggest military in history, to make sure we never have to play the pacifist like Jesus.

Jesus’s early followers practiced equality, but everybody in our capitalistic country knows what nonsense that is. That man in the gutter, hoping for a handout? He’s there because he’s too lazy to work.

Most of all, we laughed at the way Jesus practiced compassion. Better to throw divorcees, gays, blacks, Muslims, and especially those bleeding heart Liberals under the evangelistic steamroller. We have a conservative agenda to live up to.

This book is a little–no, maybe a lot–more serious than I’m letting on, but it manages to be as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

Exterminating Angel Press, © 2009, 326 pages

ISBN: 978-1-935259-02-2
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